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Thursday, September 8, 2016

When Traveling Can Be a Pain in the Ass


 Yesterday we went to the underground museum, which was very cool. The inhabitants of the Cloth Market, which is in the center of the main square, used to dump all their garbage out the windows daily back in the 13th C. and beyond. Over time, the land gets filled in and the market had to be rebuilt. Also, they were attacked and the area destroyed, so they would have to rebuild. And then there were fires that would level the market, and yes, they would have to rebuild.
 Consequently, the ground below the market is an archaeologist's dream. They have created a very interesting interactive museum below the current indoor market. At one point, we looked up at the glass ceiling realized we were below the fountain we'd been sitting at less than an hour before.
 





This is the market exterior. Inside they sell crafts, amber jewelry, etc. 




 This is how the artifacts they've uncovered are displayed, but many still remain and can be seen through glass floors and walkways.  Periodically I ask Matthew, "What do you see?" because as an archaeologist, he sees things differently from me. It's like when I see a piece of handwoven cloth, I see the structure, types of yarns, gauge or size of the yarn, etc. and he sees the overall piece. When I look at the layers of earth, I see there are different striations, but he's seeing so much more within the earth itself.

  This is cloth that's from the 13th C. and below is a handbag



   Hard to see, but this is one of several skeletons they've left as is. The exhibit uses much glass for walkways so you can see what's been uncovered, plus you walk along where the original merchant stalls were. It's hard to describe but truly interesting.
One of the typical tourist pleasures....being driving in a horse-drawn carriage around the city. I wanted to go, but so far, we haven't.
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And many pigeons in the square. They fly right towards you as you're walking along. People think it's cool to have their kids feed them...ew. flying rats...

Can you see the open window in the tower? On the hour all day and night, a fire fighter plays a short tune from there. It's a reminder of the Tatars being seen from that tower coming to attack the walled city. The bugler was able to warn everyone, but then an arrow killed him, so now they commemorate their victory and his death by playing. At noon, it's broadcast throughout the whole city.

Okay, so you're wondering what my title means.
 First, last night before going to dinner, we agreed to do some laundry. The owner provides a washing machine but no dryer, which is fine and what we had in Prague too. But he has nothing to put the wet clothes on after they come out of the washer.
 Matthew took awhile to get the machine started, but finally he did and we were ready to head out...until he started looking for his money and passport, which had been in the shirt he was wearing all day...and which was now in the wash. He tore through the apartment looking everywhere hoping to find them to no avail. 
 So then he tries to stop the machine and open it. He succeeds in stopping the process, but because it has water in it and it's a front-loader, it will not open. At one point, I see him trying to pry it open with a knife, at which point I'm wondering how much a new washer is going to cost us.
 Fortunately he couldn't pry it open, so he continued to worry aloud about his passport and how he wouldn't be able to leave the country and he looks in all the rooms again. I've already done a search myself, but then I see his pants lying on the extra bed. Passport in one pocket, money in the other. Washer was put back on and we went out for a fabulous dinner. I'd love to say he paid for it to thank me for finding his loot, but no such luck.
 Today was my turn. We wanted to head back to the Jewish quarter to see Schindler's Factory, which is a huge museum (took 3 hours to see it, and I was skipping through the last part). We hoped to see at least one synagogue and have lunch in the area too.
 We took a tram, which we'd done with Monica, so found where to buy tickets and got on. The tickets have to be stamped in a machine near the door, and I was handing mine over to Matthew while a man was trying to get past me, so I moved out of his way just as the tram started up again. I was completely thrown off my feet and literally flew backwards about 5 feet landing flat on my back. Luckily someone's backpack was on the floor, so my head hit that, but I skinned my elbow and bruised my butt. Maybe I shouldn't have lost those extra 20 pounds of padding! Two strangers immediately came over and helped me up. They both asked if I was all right and the woman said I should see how I feel and go to emergency if my head hurt. She was very kind, and I am so lucky. Nothing is broken, I wasn't bleeding anywhere, even my elbow is just skinned but not cut open. Matthew was in shock and said it was "dramatic" to see me knocked off my feet like that.
  I was sore much of the day and could feel it in my butt every time I sat down, which honestly in Schindler's factory was exactly once in 3 hours. 
 The museum is as much about the invasion of Poland by the Nazis as about what Schindler did for the 1000 Jews he saved. They had many pictures, photo albums people can sit and go through, interviews on screens with people who had been affected by the war, etc. I didn't take many pictures, but I watched a man have his young daughter take his picture by this flag as he saluted with his hand over his eye, not the Nazi salute. It still seemed very weird and more than a little disconcerting. 
  Then we had to get to the Jewish sector to have lunch and that turned out to be a 20 minute walk across the river, which I didn't need at that point. We did have a good lunch. They make infused vodka at this restaurant, and our waitress brought us each a hazelnut infused shot. I rarely drink and definitely not in the afternoon, but I downed that!
This was my salad, which was great. Slices of beef, edamame, fresh vegetables and lettuce. Yay. So then I ordered dessert because hey, I'd had a rough day.




Homemade walnut cake "with Bailey' s liqueur mousse, accompanied by a golden coconut crispy and chocolate meringues served with almost flakes and whipped cream on vanilla sauce.



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